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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


The Sacred Filibuster

I recently commented on this post over at Blog d'Ellison. In response Elisson was kind enough to email me. I will not reveal the content of his email (he was quite cordial, I just haven't asked his permission) but I will post my thoughts on the issue of filibusters in general, of judicial nominees in particular and the Senates Sacred rules.

As you will recall, it was not all that many years ago when the Democrats successfully weakened the filibuster and argued (correctly) that rules of the Senate can be changed. So any suggestion that this is purely a Republican tactic is demonstratably false.

Regardless, there are a few questions that remain. Many on the Left (and perhaps some on the Right) have warned of a future where the Republicans are in the minority and will "need" the filibuster. I, for one, disagree with the principle of this rule and I don't care which party is in power. It basically ensures that the will of the majority of Americans, through their representatives, can be tharwated by a minority. Why was the number of votes need for cloture changed from 67 to 60? Why not make it 99 or 100 (up until 1917 there was no cloture and debate was truly unlimited)? What about 51? What level of minority stonewalling is ok?

As you may or may not recall, there was a defacto filibuster in the House in the 19th century. This led to a serious disruption of business and so Thomas Reed kicked so butt and got things done and I don't think it caused the collapse of Government.

Finally, since confirmation of judicial nominees is not one of the functions of Congress for which the Constitution requires a super-majority, there is no reason why it cannot be changed (as it already has multiple times in the past).

In the end the current incarnation of the filibuster is troubling and should be scrapped. I would not be opposed to a true filibuster. Currently, the Senate rules stipulate that a Senator need only to express his/her intention to filibuster, which is recorded. This stops any debate on the topic and allows other business to continue. If, instead, the filibustering party was required to actually hold the floor (and thereby stopping all other business) I think the practice would be used much more (ouch) judiciously.


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